Australia PM brushes off gay ambassador flap

2015-05-06 10:12
Tony Abbott. (File: AFP)

Tony Abbott. (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday he was unaware the gay partner of his ambassador to France was asked "to wait in the car" during a recent tarmac greeting, insisting he did not concern himself with "trivia".

Abbott, who is personally opposed to gay marriage despite having a gay sister, said there had been an issue "at the level of junior officials" during a reception late last month with ambassador Stephen Brady in Paris.

The prime minister was due to be received at Le Bourget airport by Brady, but the ambassador's long-standing partner Peter Stephens was asked to not take part and remain in his car without explanation.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Brady was "literally screaming" at the protocol officer who passed on the request and offered to resign over the incident.

"I'm the prime minister and I don't normally concern myself with trivia," Abbott told reporters in Perth when asked about the issue.

Distinguished public servant

Under usual diplomatic protocol, an Australian leader would only be welcomed by an ambassador and their partner or spouse if travelling with their own partner. Abbott's wife Margie was not in Paris.

Abbott said he respected Brady, describing him as a friend.

"I have a lot of time for Stephen Brady. I appointed him our ambassador to Paris, I have known him for many years. He's a very distinguished public servant. I'd even say he's a friend of mine," he said.

Brady was appointed to the position in Paris last year, and reports said that he and his partner were given a farewell dinner by Abbott as they left Canberra.

"All I want to say is that he's a fine servant of Australia. He's a friend of mine, always has been and as far as I'm concerned always will be," Abbott said.

Senior government MP Alan Tudge, Abbott's parliamentary secretary, said any suggestion the prime minister snubbed Stephens was a "disgraceful smear".

Read more on:    tony abbott  |  australia  |  gay rights

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.